Major Depressive Episode (according to the DSM IV):
A. 5 or more of the following symptoms during the same 2 week period:
- Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day
- Markedly diminished interest or in pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day
- Significant weight loss or weight gain (>5% of body weight in a month)
- Insomnia or hypersomnia nearly every day
- Psychomotor agitation or retardation nearly every day
- Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day
- Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt nearly every day
- Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day
- Recurrent thoughts of death recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide.
B. The symptoms cause significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning
Sounds like it sucks, doesn’t it? Let me assure you, it does.
The thing about depression is, well, there are just so many things:
- It hurts. Physically. For me, it’s either a heavy lump in my chest or a hollow in my stomach.
- The good days are sometimes worse than the bad days. Because on the good days I cheer up, make plans, and start to think the bad days may be coming to an end. But then, the day ends and I am back where I started and perhaps even feel worse, because I can’t follow through on the plans, no matter how hard I try.
- I constantly second-guess my decision to stick with a certain medication (that’s only semi-working) and not to try others because the downsides of the others aren’t worth the possible upsides.
- I’m simply marking time. Not actually living. I think this might be the worst part. Three whole months are gone and I can’t get them back.
- All that speed and endurance I’ve built up over 2+ years of running? Pretty much gone.
- In an effort to not fixate on how crappy I feel, I fixate on something else. You don’t want to know how much I’ve thought about buying a $100 photo printer. Trust me, you really don’t.
- Ambivalence blows. On the one hand, I want to tell people how I’m feeling. To have them know sometimes I’m barely keeping my head above water. But on the other hand, they can’t do anything (and honestly, I don’t want them to do anything), so really, why tell them? Plus, the “just checking in to see how you’re doing” phone calls get really old really quickly. But on the other hand, why aren’t they asking how I’m doing? See? Ambivalence blows.
- The driving around aimlessly because I can’t spend another minute in my house but honestly don’t have the capacity to actually do anything? It gets expensive. Very quickly. Plus, it’s kind of pathetic when one drives to the beach and can’t actually find the beach*. Doesn’t really do much for one’s mood, ya know?
So yeah, that’s the thing about depression. And if you tell me that “things will get better soon”, I will kick you in the shins. Very hard. Comments of one liner jokes or links to reviews of photo printers are acceptable.
* Seriously. Between a Garmin GPS, a smart phone, and posted tourist signs, I couldn’t find the effing beach. If anyone knows where “the beach” is in Old Saybrook, CT, please, let me know. I’ll be forever grateful.